Nigerian woman booted from United flight after white passenger said she was 'pungent,' lawsuit says
© Greg Nash

A Nigerian woman has filed a racial discrimination suit against United Airlines, alleging she and her children were booted from a flight following a confrontation she had with a white passenger about her personal odor. 

The lawsuit says the woman, Queen Obioma, was publicly humiliated when a flight crew ejected her from a plane in Houston in 2016 after a white passenger complained to a pilot the woman was “pungent” and he was uncomfortable being on the same flight as her, ABC News reported Sunday.

Obioma claims in the lawsuit that she boarded a plane at the Bush Intercontinental Airport to find a white man sitting in her assigned seat. After claiming the male passenger refused to move — even after United staff attempt to seat him elsewhere — Obioma said she agreed to take his assigned seat nearby, the lawsuit alleged.

The woman said she then went to use the restroom, prior to takeoff, before she was blocked in the aisle by the same man who taken her seat. The lawsuit alleges Obioma was then ordered to exit the plane due to a complaint from the unknown male passenger. 


The man had allegedly complained Obioma had a “pungent” odor and he was uncomfortable flying with her. Obioma said she then informed the staff that her children were still aboard the plane, but she wasn’t allowed back on the flight and her children were also removed. 

“Ms. Obioma watched her minor children marched out of the aircraft like criminals, confused and perplexed and she slumped. She sobbed uncontrollably for a long time,” the lawsuit reads, according to a copy obtained by ABC News.

Hours later, Obioma and her family were provided seats on another flight to finish their journey to San Francisco, but her children missed scheduled appointments, which the lawsuit alleged costed Obioma more money.

Obioma claims she was discriminated against by the airline because she’s black and accused United of singling her out due to her race.

“United does not tolerate discrimination of any kind and will investigate this matter,” spokeswoman Kimberly Gibbs said in a statement to ABC.

The lawsuit, which was filed in Houston, asks for damages of more than $75,000. United said it had not yet been served with the suit.

"United has no legitimate reason or justification to remove [Obioma] from the flight but for racial prejudice and insulted [her] by stating that Ms. Obioma stank," the suit states.